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- Grand Owl Habitat by Merzbow
8/10 Ant Staff review, 09 August 2013
Masami Akita's output has been created digitally for many years now but I've not read of it as being “techno compatible” until now. The techno and noise scenes have been converging for a bit, with much of the US underground trading their noise for techno. I think the first time I ever heard Japanese noise that I considered to be techno was KK Null's much underrated 'Kosmista Noisea' album on Important Records back in 2009. Whether indeed Derrick May would consider that or 'Grand Owl Habitat' as techno is an interesting proposition which raises the questions "What is noise?" and "What is techno?". A debate best saved for the pub I reckon.
The first side of this LP has gargantuan slabs of cyclic, thunderous low-end power electronics and screeching frequencies which first appeared on CD on the Handmade Birds label. It doesn't exactly paint a postcard pretty image of an owls native environment, rather it conjures images of threat and danger from both man and predators and the challenges these creatures face in the hostile and unforgiving habitat in which they dwell.
Over on the B-side, the three part 'Obusuma' sounds like someone chucking William Bennett's Wasp synthesiser down a flight of stairs as it emits squeals of terror and pain. A full on assault of the senses with wild frequency abuse and unhinged oscillations underpinned by machine like heavy bottom end chugging. Quality Merzbow gear but somehow I can't picture Jeff Mills or Robert Hood dropping this at a club.
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